Working for Free

In the Creative Community, there are many creatives who work on projects for free. This can be for many reasons and at different points of the creatives career can be beneficial or detrimental. Knowing when to accept a low-paying or free gig can be difficult to determine that may require forethought and experience to navigate.

For creatives, one of the major hurdles of getting paid gigs is having projects on the resume. Many companies and employers looking to hire a creative want someone to have some experience. Dabbling in a field is never enough for them.

To do this, the creative will take a free gig. This is a valid strategy. By doing a free gig, this allows them to gain valuable experience and to have something to call upon for later. Especially when the next employer wants some experience.

But there is a limit to doing free gigs. There will always be employers who want a free handout. There will always be people who want to pay in exposure. After the first few free gigs, this is crap. Don’t do the free gig. Exposure doesn’t pay the rent.

To paraphrase the Joker: If you are good at something, you should be paid to do it.

The older I get, the more I identify with him. The free gig helps to get the foot in the door. Then it’s time to ask for money. And not a little money. If your work is as good as your mother says it is, then it should be professional rates.

You should get paid properly. This might mean you may have to turn people down. But be upfront with the cost. If you want to be paid, tell them. Have the customer sign a contract and get half upfront. This is to protect both parties. So both will trust the other.

There are some exceptions to this. Don’t charge so much for a product or service no one will pay. If you are making book covers, don’t charge two grand for one as no one pay for that. Find the market rate and if you cannot do it for that, then don’t make the product. Finds something else to sell.

There is a market for creative works, whether it is art, books, audio, visual, etc. You just need to find a way to monetize it. Just like I am.

This journey is not something I can do alone. It takes support from many people for it to become a reality. The easiest way is to visit my Amazon Author Page and purchase one of my books. They are available in all countries and for free in Kindle Unlimited. I have a tip jar set up at Ko-Fe, where you can buy me a coffee. Or you can also visit me on Facebook. Your help and support are much appreciated.

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